Anesthesia information management systems

Published on 07/02/2015 by admin

Filed under Anesthesiology

Last modified 07/02/2015

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Anesthesia information management systems

Daniel V. Simula, MD and Jeff T. Mueller, MD

An anesthesia information management system (AIMS) is the anesthesia component of an electronic medical record (EMR). This data acquisition system collects and displays real-time perioperative data from anesthesia machines, patient monitors, and other medical devices. An advanced AIMS also provides decision support capability for clinicians and facilitates information management and quality improvement functions. Much like the flight deck management and flight control systems found in modern aircraft, an AIMS can minimize manual clinical documentation duties and facilitate increased situational awareness and attention to critical tasks.

Anesthesiologists have long been at the forefront of improving monitoring capabilities and enhancing patient safety. With advances in minicomputers in the 1970s and the advent of desktop computing in the early 1980s, anesthesiologists began to explore the viability of an automated anesthesia record. Given that a single anesthetic can create millions of bits of information and that up to 40% of an anesthesia provider’s time is spent as an information scribe, computer automation was seen as a natural way to create a higher quality record that required less manual documentation. Early designs consisted primarily of homegrown proprietary designs that did not benefit from standardization or integration with other systems. Over the past 30 years, established medical device and information technology companies have entered the AIMS market. Even today, this market is continuing to mature, and AIMS vendors currently provide products with wide variations in functionality and integration.

Architecture and configuration

Conceptually, an AIMS is simply the clinical information system that supports perioperative care. An AIMS can be a stand-alone system or can be integrated within a larger medical records system. In integrated environments, an AIMS might interface with clinical systems, such as an EMR or a CPOE (computerized physician order entry) system, or with practice management systems focused on surgical scheduling, supply management, quality improvement, or coding and billing.

A proper AIMS requires high-reliability hardware, software, and networks. Special attention to human factors engineering and user interface technologies has been shown to be extremely important for the successful design, deployment, and, perhaps most important, user acceptance of any AIMS installation. An AIMS presents all of the attendant requirements of a mission critical system. Dedicated support from the organization’s information technology department is an essential ingredient of a successful AIMS.